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A completely original Mini Mrk. IV appears in West Jutland

A stainless 70s Mini does not exist

In our climate, there is a REALLY long distance between them anyway. Even if a car has been safely stored out of the way for years, the ravages of time have taken their toll. I have restored quite a few old cars over the years so I know what this is like. Still, I can't help but keep an eye on what comes up for sale of the car models that I'm interested in. One of these car models is the classic Mini from 1959-2000. Since it has been over 40 years since imports to Denmark came to a standstill, there is a long gap between schnapps. But in 2022, a rather interesting car will appear here in West Jutland, this in the form of a completely original Mini Mrk. IV (model variant from 1976-1982). One like that was my first car, and this one even in the same color. The price was the highest bidder, something that can cover completely unrealistic expectations, or the opposite.

Worth saving?

You have to enjoy your luck and hope for a reasonable deal when looking for a classic. Because what is an old used car worth? After all, it's all about supply and demand. If you have to judge by the price of old "dog houses", there are more people who want to buy than there are cars for sale. But after all, a Mini has to be very old, extremely well maintained or a special model to really cost money, and a '79 Mini 1000 is neither. Unfortunately, many of the really nice cars often change owners without ever being put up for sale, or end up with car dealers who specialize in classic cars, and then the price typically gets all it can bear and sometimes a little more. I personally think it's fun to dust off such cars myself and trade with those who have owned and driven the cars. It is often the only way to the real history of the car, and a vehicle without history does not have the same value to me. A good deal is where both parties feel it was a good deal. But as a West Jutland, the seller's smile should preferably not be too wide.

A fun trade

But as I said, this ad piqued my interest. The pictures of the car looked really promising. But how often have you not been disappointed when you see the car in reality? However, a telephone conversation revealed that it was a 1-owner car, which had been garaged for the last time back in 2011. Now the house had to be sold and the garage emptied, therefore the car had to be disposed of, preferably to a Mini enthusiast. I took a trip to look at it right away. The owner had owned 3 Minis over the years, and clearly still had a strong attachment to this car. In fact, the conversation was merrily about Mini and the time when they were popular on the Danish roads. But regardless, the price was now somewhat more fixed than the ad suggested. Owner was hoping to get the same price as when it was new. I had a hard time finding counter-arguments for this slightly underhanded price quote. I guess that was fair enough. The car was not a find as such, but complete down to the smallest detail, including a completely undamaged interior which is a rarity for old Minis.

The car's bodywork was nicely free of dents and without visible rust in the usual places, although extremely patinated. Unfortunately also with traces of previously carried out rust work at the bottom of the front and in one outer panel. Many layers of undercarriage treatment can be a good thing, but can also hide a lot of rust. The fact was, however, that this car was definitely worth saving. And it could be fun to have your first car again.

The many years in a damp garage had been hard on the car. Even though it had driven in there on its own machine, it had to be pulled out into the light. The car had flat tires, no battery, a radiator that was corroded, and a gear suspension that was rusted over. Therefore, it was not possible to test drive, but the seller could guarantee that the 116,000 km were genuine, and all documentation incl. service book spoke its clear language about the car's history. There was no reason to doubt the car's history. The original purchase invoice and photo of the car as new were in place, so I bought it on the spot.

Rusty or not?

It is a somewhat risky business to buy a 43-year-old Mini without thoroughly inspecting it for rust. Because rust is there, that's the only thing you can be absolutely sure of. I know Minier's weakest rust points all too well, so I could easily ascertain that this was not a completely camouflaged rust wreck. Still, it was a bit exciting to get the seats and carpet out and get it on the lift to check the body properly. However, I could breathe a sigh of relief. What was of rust in the bottom of the car was to be overlooked.

Total renovation or out on the road as is?

But the big question remained for some time, total renovation or simply back to roadworthy condition? I chose (as so often before) the total separation. A choice I was somewhat apprehensive about, because once the separation is underway, at some point there is no turning back. However, I chose to have the engine started before disassembly to see and hear if it worked ok, which could indicate a lot, judging by the engine running. But since the clutch hydraulics were rusted, it didn't hit the road until it was disassembled. In this phase of a renovation, disappointments tend to show up. This car no exception. The car had at one point had a new inner fender and two new front fenders, which was apparently ok, as the rust work was professionally done. Unfortunately, the rust had had free play in the remaining original inner fender, and therefore the car had been leaking on that side with mold and rust in the undercarriage as a result. Mouse had also had a great time in the undercarriage and heater. The list of new parts needed kept growing.

Separation without problems

Thanks to lavish rust protection over time, disassembly was easy and largely free of rusted bolts. On the other hand, getting all the Tectyl scraped off is quite a job. In several places there was a layer of black sticky mass up to ½ cm thick. But if it were to come off, it would have to be now before varnishing.

Engine came down with the front axle and left a big black hole with surface rust and oil mixed filth in a gloriously depressing mix. Back bridge was an exciting part of the separation, because was it rusted through?

Fortunately, it wasn't, and it was even the original rear axle, which was still there. It was a relief, and also that the rear bridge attachment points were not rusted through either. The idea was to refurbish these parts with new bushings and bearings while the car was being painted. The painter's first task was therefore to paint the front and rear bridge, so that we could get it home and start assembling. All loose parts were sandblasted and painted, and gradually the sad disassembly was replaced by the joyful assembly of new parts. All the rubber on a car this old is soft and everything was replaced. All Minis after 1969 have rubber suspension. Therefore, suspension elements were also replaced with new original parts. The beauty of making an old Mini is that all parts are easily available and not expensive.

Painting takes time

The bare bodywork was sandblasted in critical places here on site and taken to paint in a closed trailer just before the summer holidays. It was hoped to get it back after a month or two, but it didn't work out that way. It dragged on, and it wasn't until the last Friday before Christmas that it was ready for collection. The winter of 2022 was a trying time for the car paint industry with high energy prices.

However, the transformation was total. The sad faded varnish was now replaced with new shiny glossy ditto. Wonderful!

Actually, the time that passed with an empty lift in the workshop was good enough, partly it was good to have a little break, and partly it gave time to get the front and rear bridge done properly, and to clean all parts that had to be reused and fine. Ready for installation. All clutch hydraulics were renewed, brake master cylinder was refurbished and reused. All pipes and hoses renewed. Heater cleaned with new heating element, ready for installation.

Motor is recycled as is

The condition of the engine and gearbox could, for good reasons, not be known very much. In the end, however, the choice fell on settling for

with cleaning and painting the engine without disassembly. However, it got a new double camshaft chain set and new packing boxes where possible, so it had to be seen if it was a good idea to skip where the fence was lowest, as far as the drivetrain was concerned. Starter and alternator were taken apart, cleaned and cleaned. Engine and front axle were reunited and set aside, ready for assembly.

Better brakes?

Brakes on a Mini from that era are a weak point, so instead of refurbishing the front brakes, the drum brakes were replaced with a full set of Cooper S disc brakes and associated new wheel hubs. The interesting thing about it was whether it would be necessary to fit a brake booster, something I wanted to avoid in order to preserve the original appearance of the engine bay.


Collecting a car is what you look forward to, and it largely went according to plan. Once the body came back after painting, it went fast. As the painting was carried out by a company I have not used before, it was the quality of the painting that would be decisive for the end result that had to be modeled after. The varnish was not perfect but quite good. That's why this car just got the finishing touches in the form of a steering wheel from a newer model and an original 1275 GT exhaust that I found in Sweden. In addition to this, all parts that could be reused were recycled and costs of purchasing new parts were kept in check. Part of that history also includes the fact that I have quite a few spare parts from previous Mini renovations that could be used. So the budget for this car didn't run wild, as it easily can.

Back on the road again

On 23 March, the car rolls for the first time in 12 years under its own engine, and luckily both the engine, clutch and gearbox were perfectly fine. On April 21, it appears and is registered again. A newly assembled car always has a number of things that need to be fixed. This car had a strange rattling noise which was very difficult to locate. Sounds turned out to be coming from the small plastic flap on the side of the heater, which lets air out into the car's foot well on the driver's side. The plastic had become hard over time and could produce a rattling sound that sounded like metal against metal. It took quite a few hours and many small test drives to get the hang of that sound.

It was really a nostalgic experience to drive one like that again. The end result was actually quite ok, if I do say so myself. The car has retained its originality without going to extremes. But precisely Minis from the late 70s are becoming a rarity today.

This car will in future be used as an advertising car for my company and as a fun car for the undersigned and my family, who also like these charismatic little cars.

Mark IV 1977-1983

This model series is known for having two switches in the steering column, the wiper/washer functions were moved up to the steering wheel on the opposite side of the rejector switch. Wiper and sprinkler could thus be activated without the driver having to reach for the small switch by the ignition key. All models got opening side windows in the back and more noise-reducing materials under floor mats in the front. This model got a rubber-suspended front bridge; something that prevented the worst engine vibrations from propagating to the bodywork. All improvements which provided a much-needed improvement in comfort.

In addition to these common improvements, the 1000 and Clubman also got fresh air nozzles on each side of the dashboard. There were also fabric seats with adjustable backrests and safety hooks. All models are equipped with a 1½ inch SU carburettor.

Originally fitted radio was optional equipment.

This car is the facelifted model from 1978 with the new taillights with built-in taillights. Fortunately, without the unsightly screen extenders that all Mini models in Denmark got from 1981-.

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